Every time I close my eyes to go into meditation (which is now part of my daily routine again) tears run down my cheek. So I let them run. Down my cheeks, down my neck - till they create a river on my t-shirt. One tear for all the creatives that are out of work right now and wondering how to pay their rent, one for the unknown we are all facing, one for the fear of the impact this will have; how many the virus will affect - the list is long. But amidst the chaos we are experiencing right now, I am certain of one thing: this will eventually pass. I know that as I sit here breathing, I am okay and I can find calmness. Having learned to shift my perspective, I access my inner calm and am ready for the day. One day at the time. In a period where there is not much we can do as individuals to solve the situation, all we have control over is how we react to it.
There are two ways my mind could go, so I ask myself: will my depression return in strong force? Will the loneliness destroy me long before the Coronavirus does? Will I go into mental paralysis as I am completely isolated from my family and friends? Or will I find a new awakening? Will I be able to finally take time to pause and find the calm I was craving? Will I find a new perspective; a new fire to my creativity and reframe my existence? I know what I will choose.
My thought going into 2020 was to have 'choice' as a mantra in my awareness. And in these most extraordinary of situations - we get to choose how we react to it and what actions we take.
Perhaps this was a way for the universe to tell us that we needed to slow down. So as we're stuck in our homes and the world is slowly shutting down - let's take this opportunity to simply slow down. The light in this whole situation we're in is that most of us now have time to gain a new perspective on life, ourselves and each other.
We lived too quickly. Ran endlessly from place to place. Scrolled through our social media feeds without reading. Talked without really listening. We forgot to take time to notice what was good for us, good for each other and good for the world. We stopped truly seeing each other and forgot to be kind enough. Never have we had this much time to turn inwards. So as our lives now feel a bit like a sci-fi movie that nobody knows the ending to yet, let's take this time to heal, to nurture ourselves and to breathe. Look after yourself and those around you.
Brene Brown, whose words I often turn to for inspiration, says that this is "a massive experiment in collective vulnerability. We can be the worst selves, when we’re afraid, or our very best, bravest selves.” So let’s choose to be the best versions of ourselves. Let’s be brave and kind. Although the situation is challenging in so many ways, there is beauty in the togetherness. We’re all in this together.
Dear readers, how can we get through this together? What do you need from us in these times? What will help lift the spirit, help you feel more inspired and enable you to find some inner calm?
During isolation time, we will open up for submissions for our website with slightly different angles that don't have the fashion element we usually request for our online features. We want to inspire creators to keep creating and are interested in seeing how you guys experience this.
We would love to see online and Instagram submissions including:
- Documentaries of boys that you are currently self-isolating with
- Photography isolation diaries
- Self-portrait angles of how you are experiencing this
And perhaps you have other ideas that we didn't think of yet. The world is currently upside down, so we'll adapt as we go along to provide as much inspiration, shared stories and hope as we can.
For now, let's go inwards. Let's take the time to do all the things we never had time to do. So stay home. Heal. Create things. Read things. Watch things. Listen to things. Create WhatsApp inspiration groups to keep motivated. Drink a Quarantini (it’s just a regular martini, but you drink it alone). Meditate. Listen to each other instead of talking at each other. Take pictures you didn't think of before. Learn to think differently. Gain a new perspective on how you live in and contribute to this world.
These are extraordinary circumstances and there is a lot of fear. All we can do is shift our perspective. When this is all over - we'll never take our freedom for granted again. I hope we can become the people we always wanted to be. May we hug each other more often, smile at strangers when we pass them, appreciate full shelves in supermarkets, enjoy glasses of wine in the pub with our friends, sing along at live music events and find new and more meaningful ways to live. Maybe we will learn to make new choices - better choices - and have new dreams and love each other more fully.
As the world is slowing down, let's choose how we spend this time and set ourselves up for what comes after this. Hopefully, we will be calmer, smarter, more inspired and kinder human beings.
Stay safe, everyone.